Epstein Bar Virus causative of MS? Science Daily

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by KerryK, Mar 6, 2010.

  1. KerryK

    KerryK Member

    Further Evidence Links Epstein-Barr Virus and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis
    ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2010) — Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and a team of collaborators have observed for the first time that the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) increases by many folds following infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This finding implicates EBV as a contributory cause to multiple sclerosis.

    The study appears in an advance online edition of the journal Annals of Neurology and will appear in a later print edition.

    Hundred of thousands of individuals not infected with EBV were followed up for several years through repeated blood samples collections. Researchers were then able to determine the time when individuals developed an EBV infection and its relation to MS onset. "The recruitment of individuals before they were infected with EBV and following up with them for several years is the critical methodological aspect that makes this study qualitatively different from all previous work," said Alberto Ascherio, senior author of the study and professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School.

    MS is a chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system. Women are more likely than men to get the disease and it is the most common neurologically disabling disease in young adults. Although genetic predisposition plays an important role in determining susceptibility, past studies have shown that environmental factors are equally important.

    EBV is a herpes virus and one of the most common human viruses worldwide. Infection in early childhood is common and usually asymptomatic. Late age at infection, however, often causes infectious mononucleosis. In the U.S., upwards of 95% of adults are infected with the virus, but free of symptoms. EBV has been associated with some types of cancer and can cause serious complications when the immune system is suppressed, for example, in transplant recipients. There is no effective treatment for EBV.

    This is the first study based on the longitudinal follow-up of several thousand individuals who were not infected with EBV at the time of recruitment. The study population was made up of active-duty US Army, Navy, and Marines personnel who have at least one blood sample in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. The electronic databases of the Physical Disability Agencies of the US Army and Navy were then searched for individuals whose records indicated a possible diagnosis of MS reported between 1992 and 2004.

    The researchers selected 305 individuals diagnosed with MS and who had blood specimens collected before the date of their diagnosis. Two controls for each case were then selected from the serum database and matched by branch of service, sex, date of blood collection, and age at time of blood collection.

    The study found that MS risk is extremely low among individuals not infected with EBV, but it increases sharply in the same individuals following EBV infection.

    "The observation that MS occurred only after EBV is a big step forward," said Alberto Ascherio. "Until now we knew that virtually all MS patients are infected with EBV, but we could not exclude two non-causal explanations for this finding: that EBV infection is a consequence rather than a cause of MS, and that individuals who are EBV negative could be genetically resistant to MS. Both of these explanations are inconsistent with the present findings," said Ascherio.

    "The evidence is now sufficiently compelling to justify the allocation of more resources to the development of interventions targeting EBV infection, or the immune response to EBV infection, as these may contribute to MS prevention," he said.

    The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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    Adapted from materials provided by Harvard School of Public Health.


    Journal Reference:

    1.Lynn I. Levin, Kassandra L. Munger, Eilis J. O'Reilly, Kerstin I. Falk, Alberto Ascherio. Primary infection with the epstein-barr virus and risk of multiple sclerosis. Annals of Neurology, 2010; NA DOI: 10.1002/ana.21978
    Need to cite this story in your essay, paper, or report? Use one of the following formats:

    Harvard School of Public Health (2010, March 5). Further evidence links Epstein-Barr virus and risk of multiple sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/03/100304165900.htm
    Note: If no author is given, the source is cited instead.
  2. KerryK

    KerryK Member

    I find this interesting because, I believe one of the major reasons Epstein Bar is dismissed as causative of ME/CFS is that nearly everyone is infected by it though only a few go on to develop ME. Yet, that is also the case here with MS. Another pillar of denial failing?
  3. ChuckNBerkeley

    ChuckNBerkeley New Member

    "The study found that MS risk is extremely low among individuals not infected with EBV, but it increases sharply in the same individuals following EBV infection."

    "Primary infection with the epstein-barr virus and risk of multiple sclerosis

    To determine whether multiple sclerosis (MS) risk increases following primary infection with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), we conducted a nested case-control study including 305 individuals who developed MS and 610 matched controls selected among the over 8 million active-duty military personnel with serum stored in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. Time of EBV infection was determined by measuring antibody titers in serial serum samples collected before MS onset among cases, and on matched dates among controls. Ten (3.3%) cases and 32 (5.2%) controls were initially EBV negative. All of the 10 EBV-negative cases became EBV positive before MS onset; in contrast, only 35.7 % (10) of the 28 controls with follow-up samples seroconverted (exact p value = 0.0008). We conclude that MS risk is extremely low among individuals not infected with EBV, but it increases sharply in the same individuals following EBV infection. Ann Neurol 2010"

    "Primary infections" means, I believe, the first time EBV infection in the individual occurs. And as near as I can determine "infectious mononucleosis" when it is EBV is the same.

    So it is people who are 17 or 18 years old or older when they are first infected with EBV who develop MS.

    I could be wrong. Naturally.
  4. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I think there has to be a link with EBV and CFIDS/ME. Alot of us were told we had mono. Many of us weren't sick prior to getting mono and then it never seemed to get better. There has to be some link there.
  5. thruvioleteyes

    thruvioleteyes New Member

    I have elevated levels for HHV6, EBV and Coxsackie B4 and C Pnuemonia. I also have been diagnosed with POTS, Chronic Fatigue/fibromyalgia. I know I feel horrible and before I knew that I had any of the above virus's etc I thought I was at the very beginging stages of having MS. So now we know more about my virus's but still have not fixed my problem. My question is I have these elevated numbers but none of the doctors understand my condition or they just want to treat it with pain killers, What do I do? Am I even sick? Is my life in danger if I dont look into this more? I live in a smaller area. I can post my test results if needed.
  6. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    A common mistake is often made when studies show a possible contributing factor or risk and people misread that to mean the factor is "the cause." Almost everyone has been exposed to EBV or has been infected by it. Because not everyone infected has MS, it must mean that there is another factor involved, possibly a genetic predisposition.

    There is also a connection between breast cancer and EBV. The connection is so strong that researchers believe that EBV may be the cause but cannot say for certain because about the only thing these studies show are connections.

    The danger of thinking a connection is the cause is that other factors, which may contribute to, or cause, the condition may be overlooked. We are all so anxious to find what causes illness that we can sometimes jump the gun when we find such connections. It is only natural but may lead us down the wrong road.

    Love, Mikie
  7. heapsreal

    heapsreal New Member

    When these herpes viruses like ebv/cmv/hhv6 reactivate they can make us feel alot worse but also a sign that our immune system isnt strong enough to keep these virus latent, which is what happens in normal healthy people. This is the case with HIV, these viruses reactivate because HIV has knocked out the immune system. SO in cfs there could be some type of immune defiency or another infection causing the immune system to react poorly to other viruses. I think this is also apart of the theory of XMRV/retrovirus in cfs. Also a common finding in cfs patients is poorly functioning natural killer cells which help our immune system to fight viruses and cancers.
  8. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Yes, the Herpes-Family Viruses never completely go away in most cases. They go latent in the system. Same is true of Lyme and mycoplasma bacteria. They can actually change form and become latent cysts deep in the body's tissues. People who have had Chicken Pox can later get the shingles, so Herpes Viruses may be able to lie latent for many years and go on to trigger other illnesses. Many times, shingles appear following a very stressful event when someone is run down.

    Dr. Cheney had a great article in the Library here which explains what happens to both sides of the immune system in PWC. One side overreacts and one side underreacts. Some people with CFIDS/ME never get colds and common viruses but have had chronic, stealth infections for years.

    Love, Mikie